A friendship that turned into forever…

I’ll never forget the morning I first laid eyes on him. It was a cool February morning and I was furiously chatting with my newly labeled ex-boyfriend, who broke up with me the previous night after a Dave Barnes concert—yes friends, you did read that right. I left my Old Testament class early that morning because it was becoming pretty obvious to everyone around me that my angry typing wasn’t note-taking. So I walked downstairs to finish our chat conversation in the unoccupied, drafty lobby of the administration building. I was still in my pajamas with my hair pulled up in a messy bun, and was really just killing time arguing with this guy about a relationship that I already knew was over—and to be completely transparent, could care less about. It’s funny thinking back now how hard I fought, despite the confirmation I had deep down that our break up was pivotal to the relationship break through the Lord was preparing me for.  I heard the doors swing open and felt the warm sun hit my face, as I heard a familiar voice call out my name. I looked up and saw a friend I met earlier that semester walking into the admin building, and right there behind him was a guy I had never seen before. He was very tall and slender, and his brown hair curled out from under his Yankees hat. He started toward the offices after holding the door for two of the older ladies who worked there, when my friend already walking toward me, yelled for him to follow. As he walked toward the bench I was sitting on, my friend spoke up, “have you met Bordeaux yet?” I answered with a simple “no” as he reached out his hand to shake mine. I watched his wide smile reach up to meet his deep brown eyes, and when he looked at me I was filled with an instant sense of comfort. He stood there that morning talking and joking with me like he had known me for years. And it was in that moment, in the middle of an average Wednesday, a friendship was born that would eventually transform into the beautiful relationship we share today.

My marriage, like so many others, is far from perfect. We get on each others nerves, we fight, we disappoint each other, and some days we just really don’t like each other. I believe the reality is, a successful marriage is not one without fights or failures, but one based on a faithful friendship. My husband and I spent almost a full year developing our friendship, before realizing we both wanted something more. That year provided a safe space for learning each other and spending time together without expectations. Our friendship laid an ideal foundation for the Lord to prepare Chip’s heart to pursue mine. We have weathered some pretty intense storms since that first year, but even when we failed in loving each other well, our friendship cushioned the fall and pushed us to fight for each other and the marriage God gave us.

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Photo Credit: Lisa Oliver

I have several single friends who have recently shared with me their desires to have a successful marriage one day, but because of society’s outlook on marriage, are unsure and often even fearful about what their marriages will look like. In our conversations, I have tried to encourage them with a few things I’ve learned and experienced in my marriage, and my hope is that I can do the same for you as you read these words today.

A successful marriage, in my opinion, is the result of two people who actively pursue Jesus and enjoy spending time together—who make a covenant with God and each other to spend the rest of their lives having fun, sharing dreams, encouraging each other, and doing life together. Mine and Chip’s marriage hasn’t  always been pretty—it’s actually gotten pretty ugly at times. But because it was rooted in Jesus and based on a friendship, our relationship has grown deeper through our hardships, instead of being destroyed by them.

One of the most important things that I have learned in the last five years is that once the newlywed dust settles and everyday life kicks in, marriage requires sacrifice. And in order to be in a place to sacrifice, you have to first be spiritually and emotionally healthy.

Unhealthy dating relationships lead to unsuccessful marriages filled with unrealistic expectations.

If you are in a serious relationship with someone and having doubts about whether it is going to lead to a successful marriage, it may be a good idea to begin asking yourself a few hard questions like the ones I’ve listed below…

  1. Is this person someone who is genuinely pursuing my heart, or is it just a comfortable relationship?
  2. Would this person still desire a relationship with me if I were to remove the physical aspects of it?
  3. If I share the most real, raw, unfiltered version of myself are they likely to extend grace, love, and forgiveness; or judgement, critique, and resentment toward me?
  4. Do I feel safe giving this person my past struggles, current stresses, and future goals to carry with me?
  5. Is this person challenging and encouraging me in my faith or am I “carrying them” or trying to “fix” them?
  6. Can I see myself growing old with this person? Does that thought excite me or does it flood my mind with insecurities about whether or not we will stand the test of time?
  7. How does this person treat other people who are important to me? Do they share the importance of time spent with my family and friends or am I having to talk them into hanging out with my people?
  8. Is this person moving forward in their spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of life or does it seem they are at a standstill, or worse…moving backward?

If we are being really honest with ourselves, these questions should be pretty easy to answer. The challenge is found in the difficult decisions you may be prompted to make after answering them. The Lord wants us to enjoy marriage and ultimately established it to be a vehicle for ministry in growing closer to Him and encouraging others to do the same. He should be getting more glory out of the story we are writing together, than he ever did from us when we were apart. I can honestly say that my husband and I have been far more effective in ministry together, than we ever were when we were on our own.

I write this not to discourage you, but to help you see that Jesus really does want more for you than you could ever want or dream for yourself.

God promises that He is able to “do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

I look back on every dating relationship I was in throughout the years and I am confident that not one of those guys would have stood by me, encouraged me, challenged me, and loved me the way that Chip has. At the end of the day, we have fun together and I know that no matter what storms we may face ahead that we will walk through them hand-in-hand, and I can trust that the Lord will equip Chip to lead me out to the other side.

My husband isn’t perfect—but he leads me in a way that allows me to better see who Jesus is, instead of obstructing my view of Him.

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I am a promise.

Purpose is a word we hear so often in church language. My pastor often says we were made on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose. If you’re anything like me you love hearing that there is some great destiny that lies ahead, and that our lives could have a lasting legacy.

But all to often we hear that on Sunday, and then Monday morning awakes us with a screaming baby, a coffee spill, or our gas light coming on when we are already running late for work.

All my life I have felt a deep burning in my heart to do something big. As a little girl, I wanted to hand out stickers to people walking into Walmart. During my teen years, I dreamed of attending law school and then working for state government. In college, I changed my major three times and ended up pursuing a field completely outside my actual degree, but that’s another story. Today, as a 28 year old wife and mom, I have aspirations so big that I’m afraid to even whisper them out loud. I wonder why it’s ok for a little girl to dream, but when she becomes a woman that dream is met with shame and dismissal?

Growing up, I remember singing songs with my mom but one in particular still stands out to me, and as you read these lyrics imagine a spunky 3 year old with blonde pigtails belting it out to the top of her lungs…

I am a promise, I am a possibility. I am a promise, with a capital “P”. I am a great big bundle of potentiality. And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice, and I am tryin’ to make the right choice. I am a promise to be, anything God wants me to be.

What a cute little girl right?! A little girl who isn’t afraid of what people think, who will stand in the middle of the grocery store and sing this song loud and clear, a little girl who believes those truths with everything inside her. A little girl who now wakes up every morning wondering if she still has permission to sing that very song.

Earlier this year I began wrestling with why God continued testing my faith. You see after struggles with my marriage, the pain of infertility, ups and downs of an adoption journey, and now a calling that is bigger than I feel is possible, I was pretty frustrated with why I have to keep walking through these things. One night as I was driving home listening to the radio, I actually screamed out a pretty ugly prayer, “how many times do I have to prove myself to you?” And in that very moment I was met with this realization—We may fight and win battle after battle after battle, but the war isn’t won until we surrender our strategy. You see I have walked into a hopeless situation and surrendered to the Lord’s plan, with the mindset that once I got through it life could go back to normal. Normal isn’t something the Lord calls anyone to. So that night as I drove in silence I knew the one thing he was asking me to hand over was that idea of my comfortable, normal, easy life. I had held on so tightly to the security of my plan for almost thirty years and quite frankly my hand was starting to hurt.

So this next season of my life is going to be an interesting one. A time where I’m going to step out knowing that there’s no such thing as an average, comfy, routine-run life in my future. An opportunity for a 28 year old to belt out “I am a promise” at the top of her lungs with the same belief she had when she was only 3 years old. Jesus has called me to something far greater—and I am meeting Him there with anticipation. I want to challenge you to do the same.

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Mommy’s want…

A letter to my son…

4 months—that is how long I’ve known you, but I’ve known the promise of you my whole life. When I looked down at my very first baby doll I felt the want for you for the first time, though I didn’t understand it completely. With every boy I dated I secretly imagined the kind of daddy he would be for you, and sometimes that is the very thing that made me realize he wasn’t the one for you and me. The day your daddy got down on one knee and asked me to marry him I said yes because I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him—but I also said yes for you, because I knew he would be such a great daddy!

The next few years passed by and my want grew stronger. Sometimes I would catch a glimpse of what our life would be like if you were there… visiting with my aunt Jill and watching daddy rough-house with her boys, and his patience each time he had just sat down and was called to play again. The teachable moments he created with every kid he interacted with. Each time a baby was sat next to us at a restaurant, your daddy would go out of his way to make funny faces and then encourage the mommy and daddy by telling them how precious their gift of parenthood was. Those were the days I started to see his want for you.

That rainy day the doctor told us you were impossible was the day I felt my heart break into a million little pieces. I ran out of the office and your daddy was right behind me. He hugged me tight and reminded me that Jesus is faithful and that He would give us you in His timing. We both cried and that’s when I saw daddy’s want was just as big as mine.

February 17, 2014 (mommy’s 26th birthday) was the day Daddy and I announced to the world that we believed God’s promises to us were true and that He would give us you. We stepped out in faith and claimed the calling He gave us to adopt and started praying for the special woman who’s tummy you would grow in. Our want was multiplied on that day.

Those next nine months were the longest months ever for mommy and daddy as we pursued, waited, and prepared to meet you. Your whole family was so excited, but none of them could begin to imagine just how big my want for you was.

November 10, 2014 at 3:30 in the morning we got a phone call that you were on your way. So your Daddy and I jumped in the car and drove to the hospital, anticipating meeting you the whole way. We spent the next few hours dreaming about what you would be like and couldn’t believe how close we were to meeting you. At 1:23pm the nurse placed you in my arms and instantly my heart was put together again. That want for you I had known since I was a little girl was met with a peace that only Jesus can give and a full heart unlike I had ever felt. The moment my eyes met yours I knew Jesus had created you perfectly for me and daddy. All of those years of waiting were so worth it when I saw your little smile for the very first time. And watching your Daddy light up as you wrapped your tiny hand around his finger was magical… nothing can describe the love we had for you in that moment.

I share this story with you because there will be days in your life that you feel a strong want, something deep inside of you that you won’t quite understand at the time. That want will grow stronger and stronger with time, and there will be a stormy day where that want will feel impossible. When that day comes, know that mommy and daddy have both felt that hopelessness that drowns a want or shatters it into a million little pieces, and we will be there to hug you tight and remind you that Jesus is faithful. Hear me son when I tell you that Jesus IS a promise maker and a promise keeper and He will give you that want, but before He does He will grow you in ways you cannot imagine. He will write a beautiful story through that want and then use it to encourage other people’s wants. And one day, when you least expect it, after months or maybe even years of Jesus preparing you… He will provide your want. And you, too, will feel that peace we felt when God gave us you.

My prayer for you is that you will grow up never doubting Jesus loves you and how His want is immeasurably more for your life than you could ever dream or imagine. That you know the love your daddy and I have for you and that we wanted you so so much. That you will understand the impact your story has already had on so many, and that you will continue using it to glorify God in such a way that no one can deny His hand on your life. Your life is an example of how faithful our God is and that He keeps His promises.

I love you my little one and always will.

“And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” – 1 John 5:15

Photo Credit: Abby Funderburk Photography http://abbyfunderburk.com/

Photo Credit: Abby Funderburk Photography http://abbyfunderburk.com/

 

What Am I Doing Here?

I feel like we all struggle with finding our identity at times. It’s a popular issue among teens battling the “Who am I” and “What makes me different from everyone else” questions. But I would venture to say that I’m not the only woman who has had those days where I feel my inner-fifteen year old scream those same questions.

Most of the time those days are also the days where I’m struggling with my purpose and trying to figure out if I’m making a difference. The cloudy days where I’m a little more willing to pay a ridiculous price for that cute planner I’ve been eying because lets face it, if I was just more organized my life would make so much more sense.

The truth is I’ve really been searching for my purpose over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago I was in a bad car accident. I walked away without a scratch, yet the other driver didn’t make it. I’ve found myself asking God so many questions, but the biggest has been why—both old why’s and new why’s. Why am I still here and the other guy isn’t? Why I was so close to paying my car off and now am faced with finding another one? Why is it taking so long to be matched with a birth mother? Why don’t I have a baby yet?

I’ve been so confused as to why He hasn’t answered me or given me any valid signs that would help me answer those questions. I’ve been growing more and more impatient and more and more uncomfortable.

Then Sunday came… and in the midst of our church’s series on money, our pastor delivered a message I will never forget. It was a message about surrender, and was from 1 Kings 18:30-35. In the scripture, God brought Elijah and the Jewish people to the point of desperation so He could show them who He is and what He is capable of. Our pastor reminded us that God always hears the cries of desperate people. He also mentioned that sometimes we pray for God to reveal His power, when we should be crying out for God to pour out His grace. That struck a nerve. How many times had I prayed in the past week for God to just reveal His power and do something miraculous in my life to show me my life had meaning. The main point of our pastor’s message is the point that I would like to encourage you with today… Surrender is not when we give God something, it’s when we give God everything.

I’ve been holding onto my desires and my dreams for so long that I haven’t even realized I was still holding on to them. Sunday, I was reminded that God’s purpose for my life is daily surrender. I don’t have to know exactly what God wants for my future, I just have to know that I’m surrendered completely to whatever that future holds. I don’t have to know why the wreck happened, I just have to be surrendered to the fact that Jesus has full control and wants me here today for a purpose. And as far as that purpose goes, I don’t have to know what it is… I just have to surrender my day to Him and my purpose is then found in Him.

This isn’t a big 7 step guide to finding your purpose, it’s a 1 step guide. Friends, surrender is not when we give something, it’s when we give God everything. The Jewish people who gave their water eventually got so much more water in return. When we surrender everything, we get more than we had in the first place. Through our surrender, we find our purpose and identity in Christ.

I’m not sure who is reading this who is feeling frustrated about not being where we feel we should be as far as our ministry or calling, but just rest in the fact that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be in this moment. Jesus wants to use “our water” to one day bring “the rain”.

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Stop expecting, when you’re expecting…

 “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still…” Exodus 14:14

I haven’t written in a few months because I felt like I should wait for the next big step in our adoption process. I wanted my next blog to be about the phone call we received telling us we have been matched. The truth… waiting is hard. I’ve finished my checklist, all the paperwork has been submitted, we are home-study approved, we registered, the nursery is ready… we just need the phone to ring. As difficult and painful as the first few months were dealing with the sting of infertility and the piles of work and fundraising ahead of us, I think this last month has been the hardest so far. The stillness, quiet, and not having a “to-do” list have left me extremely uncomfortable.

Last Sunday, I found myself angry during worship at church. Our pastor had spoke on how our God is a good God who wants good things for His children, and that His purpose for our lives is for us to experience His joy. I was confused at why He wasn’t giving me a next step in our calling to adopt and really felt abandoned and alone…and bargained in my prayer that if He would just give me a baby I would experience joy. I know, childish right? When I got really honest with myself I knew the reason it was bothering me so much is because Jesus was taking away the walls of “busy-ness” I had built around my heart to protect me from being emotionally vulnerable with Him. I knew as long as I had a box to check I didn’t have to face the ugly truth… that I was searching so desperately for my baby and preparing so hard for him/her, instead of placing my focus and my pursuit on Jesus and finding my satisfaction in Him alone.

Sometimes, Jesus brings us to a place where we feel like we aren’t doing anything and it frustrates us, when we are exactly where He wants us to be… and He just wants us to sit for awhile with Him and for that to be enough. He wants our worship more than He wants our preparations, during our waiting (Luke 10:38-42). So that’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks… sitting still at Jesus’ feet and listening. My heart has grown so full it feels like it will burst and He has taught me so so much during this waiting period. I am content for the first time in a very long time and no longer looking to the next box to check. I am confident He will provide because His promises do not return void and He wants more for me than I could ever want for myself.

So I challenge you to allow yourself to be vulnerable with Jesus, set aside some time for Him to break down walls in your life. True fulfillment doesn’t come the way we think it does—through our striving, achieving, conquering, and acquiring.
Jesus teaches us in the scriptures that true joy and fulfillment comes through sacrificing ourselves for others—through being vulnerable even to those who reject us. It comes through pouring out ourselves for others, and trusting God to fill us back up (John 12:23-25). Jesus uses circumstances in our lives, especially our places of woundedness, brokenness, disappointment, and rejection, for good. We are all reliant on Him all the time, but all too often, we fail to grasp this. When bad things happen, we turn to Jesus (just like David did in Psalms) with our fears because we have nowhere else to go. At that point in time we realize that no friend, no doctor, no medication can fill the deepest longings of our hearts, and so we cry out to Jesus.

When we feel like we just can’t do it or don’t want to be vulnerable, we can be reminded that He became vulnerable to us. He died naked, abandoned, and alone on the cross. Even God turned His back on Jesus on the cross, so Jesus could experience hell for us. Just as He did for the cross, God can transform our weakest, ugliest, most shameful places into sources of beauty that can bring Him glory. This has been such a sweet reminder that we will never “arrive” or know all there is to know about Him. He has so much to teach me and I have so much to learn from Him. It’s in this vulnerable state that my prayer has changed from “God, make me a mother” to “God, mold me into the mother you want me to be… no matter how long it takes.”

So, it’s not that He doesn’t want me to be excited or plan for this beautiful promise of a baby. It’s not that checking all of those boxes were wrong. Jesus wants me to be expectant during this time, but to be more expectant of what He has planned, than what I do…

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Infertility Blues… Again.

I woke up this morning with a suffocating lump in my throat. The sickening pit in my stomach, the desire so strong I could explode, met with the realization that I may never be… pregnant. After being 18 days late, this morning… I felt all of that hope crash all over again. I know some of you are thinking, “but aren’t you and your husband called to adopt…” or “how selfish is she to want to be pregnant when she’s adopting…” Trust me, I’ve said the same things to myself over and over again. A good friend of mine who has walked in my shoes shared some wise words to me once that adoption does not cure infertility. I couldn’t agree more… adoption does not cure infertility, but daily searching for my identity in Jesus and finding my fulfillment in Him does.

I am no where near perfect… I have struggles on a day to day basis just like everyone else. I squeeze my toothpaste from the center of the tube, forget to replace the toilet paper roll, let dirty dishes pile up in the sink, and I struggle with real sin every single day. Finding my fulfillment in anything but Jesus is sin, but the beautiful thing about all of our sin is that it’s never bigger than Jesus and His grace covers it all.
My husband and I were called to adopt a newborn baby domestically eight months ago. Since that time God has grown me in ways that I can’t even describe and has proven His faithfulness again and again. I know that He has big plans to use our story to bring so so much glory to His name. I have made incredible friendships with people literally all over the world since our announcement. I’ve heard stories similar to mine with all sorts of amazing journeys of how God brought a baby into their lives. I cannot tell you guys how much your encouragement, prayers, and support have meant to me over the past several months. Know that I still struggle, I still feel pain, and I still battle with infertility. At the same time, I have such a deep longing to get the phone call that could come literally any day now, from the birth mom that Jesus has for us. I cannot wait to be able to tell our baby the beautiful story of how their adoption impacted so many people, and how they were loved and pursued before they were even conceived. My struggles with infertility in no way lesson my burden and calling for the child we are adopting.
I decided to blog today because I know that keeping these feelings to myself rob God of potential glory and I want nothing more than for Him to use every single bit of our journey to help encourage others on their journey as they go through similar emotions. Honestly, I immediately felt guilty over the excitement I have been feeling the last 18 days that I might be pregnant. My mom reminded me earlier this morning that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). This means that He allowed these 18 days and the feelings that have accompanied them, as part of His preparation in us for what’s to come. If nothing else, it has reminded me that God has given us exactly what we needed when we needed it throughout our journey, His timing is perfect, and He isn’t finished with our story.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate your prayers today…

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Remember…

Just blown away today that we serve a God who always provides what we need. 3 months & 17 days ago, I announced what then seemed impossible, that we were going to adopt a baby debt-free. Today I checked our adoption account balance and one word hit my heart—remember.

I remember sitting in the dr office when they told us a baby was impossible. I remember going to the bank to open our adoption account and them asking if we would have the minimum amount required for an account within 60 days to avoid a fee, and me telling Him that I knew The Lord would provide. I remember, even recently, friends shocked that we weren’t getting a loan for our adoption. I remember laying in bed listening to Chip encourage me that Jesus has a plan and has called us to this and would not fail us. I remember 107 days ago not having a penny in that account, and today when I looked at it The Lord reminded me what His faithfulness looks like. It’s so easy to focus on the $6,000 left we need to raise and not the $9,000+ that Jesus has provided already.

If you have donated, thank you so so much! Keep sharing our story and keep praying! If you feel led to donate now, you can by clicking the “donate now” link at the top right of our blog.

He is so so good to us and I cannot wait to see how He plans to continue to use our adoption story for His glory!

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What’s This Adoption Puzzle Thing?

We are so excited about our adoption and we KNOW without a doubt that this is EXACTLY what God is calling us to do. Not in a year, not in 5 years, but right now!

Our best guess is that our adoption will cost close to $15,000 – $20,000. So, in an attempt to help offset some of the costs, we are asking people to sponsor a puzzle piece for $5 per piece. If you buy a puzzle piece, we will write your name on the front of the piece. Once all the pieces are sold, and the puzzle is completed, we will frame the puzzle with the names facing outward. We would like to hang this in our nursery as a thank you to all of the people who are helping us make this adoption possible, and so that our son or daughter will grow up seeing the names of each person who prayed and supported their adoption story.

If you would like to sponsor a puzzle piece, you can make your payment through Paypal. To donate through Paypal just click the link on the right-hand side of this blog. You’ll have to put in the amount of pieces you would like to sponsor, at $5 per piece.

Please note that you do not have to have a Paypal account to make this payment online. Just click on the “Donate” button and then scroll down the page to the section that says “Don’t have a Paypal account?” Click “Continue” and it will take you to a page to make your payment without having to create an account.

If you are not comfortable with Paypal, but would like to purchase a puzzle piece or two, feel free to send me an email. I’ll let you know our address and you can send us a check. My email address is elizabethadoption@gmail.com. And if you would like to buy more than one puzzle piece, we would be very grateful!

Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and support!!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11

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Abundantly More…

This past Saturday was our Yard Sale Fundraiser…

I had set a personal goal of $300, and after weeks of preparation and organizing I woke up Saturday morning and asked God to show up.

First of all I want to thank ALL of the sweet people who donated their items to our yard sale! We had SOOOO much stuff and it was awesome!

Next I want to thank everyone who took time out of their Saturday to come help set up, sell, and clean up afterward… we seriously could NOT have done this without your help. Shout-outs to: My parents, grandparents, sister, brother-in-law, Walter Tollison, Karen Neal, Justin & Simone Carroll, Kirk & Jen Morris (and Bekah), Lauren Fincher, Brittany Bridwell, Josh Hellums, Andrea Addington, Tiffany Vatakis, Tami & Mackenzie Peterman.

I also want to thank each person who came out to support our yard sale! It was awesome to see so many friends and family members who wanted to help us bring home our baby!

At one point I remember looking around and fighting tears just because of how many of my dear friends showed up to shop our yard sale and how determined they were to come help us out. God taught me so much on Saturday and one of those reminders was simply… you can’t do life alone, and with Jesus it’s pretty much impossible. He continues to send us old friends and new friends to love on us and encourage us daily… these people (you know who you are) have become family… and our child is already blessed to have you in his/her life.

Throughout the day my incredible sister would come empty the cash drawer so that we didn’t have too much at any one point in the day. Around lunchtime we were blown away by how much we had already removed. At that point I decided we would stop counting… I wanted us to wait until the end to count everything out together.

All in all I was floored by the outpouring of love, support, and encouragement shown by our community on Saturday. God pressed into my heart all day that Chip and I are NOT alone in this journey and that the best is yet to come!

After the crowd died down (around 4pm) we decided to take all of the money inside and start counting… so Jessica, Lauren, Simone, and I went inside and began to count. Jessica kept track of the totals—and was the only one who knew the final number. We went back outside to make the big announcement and were surprised when we saw about 5 cars of people STILL shopping. God was not done…

Finally once everyone left we gathered everyone around to hear the totals and to take some pictures… Jessica announced the donations first… which were $325 alone! God provided my personal goal in JUST donations! Then… he opened the floodgates! Our yard sale put us at over $5000 total in our Adoption Fund! I’ll just say that God knows EXACTLY what He is doing and that He already knows how and when He will provide the remaining $10,000.

Ya’ll in just a little over a month we have raised over $5,000! That is PHENOMENAL!! Keep praying, keep sharing our story, and if God lays it on your heart… keep giving. He IS a promise maker AND a promise keeper, and we are humbled that He is giving us front row seats to watch Him work miracles in our life!

This weekend is Easter—the ultimate picture of hope. As believers we know that Jesus conquered death and with it He also conquered every single difficult season we will ever encounter in our lives. Trust Him and He will never let you down!

I’ll close with a note from my journal that I wrote the morning before the yard sale… “In His suffering He thought of me, in my suffering, if I look to Him… He’s all I need.” We love each and every one of you SO SO much and are so excited to see what’s to come!

Again, if you would like to donate you can at http://www.mycaring.com/babyb and if you would like a t-shirt please shoot us an email and we will get your size info and address.

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Mommy To Be

The last few weeks I have sat down to write and just couldn’t find words to put down… I knew that God would stir my heart when the timing was right and give me the words to say, so I stepped away for a little while and waited. Days went by and still nothing… I just couldn’t figure out how to express what I was feeling…until today—and it’s still pretty messy… but I’m going to write it anyway.

I’m scared to death… and have so many feelings going through my mind about this whole “becoming a mother thing.” I know that God is preparing me little by little but so many questions overwhelm me every time I think about the ticking clock getting closer and closer to me becoming a mom.

I cannot describe to you how badly I want to be a mother. It’s so close to real physical heartache sometimes that I have to get my mind off of thinking about our baby. I’ll find myself dreaming about what he/she is going to look like and longing to the baby noises. But in the midst of all of the excitement I also experience real fear about my inadequacies in becoming a mother. I have been so abundantly blessed to grow up with such an incredible example of what a godly mother should look like. My mom was the BEST mom, hands down! Maybe that’s why I am so terrified… I mean how do I just all of a sudden take on all of those traits that she exemplified? Being patient, gentle, kind, loving, creative, fun—while teaching me right from wrong… how do I do that?

I know the “right” answer is that I will grow into that role and that God will give me everything I need to be the mother He wants me to be… but that doesn’t make it any less scary. For me this is like telling someone that they will be sailing a ship soon… could be a month or it could be a year before it happens, but not to worry that when the time comes they will have everything they need in order to be a successful captain. Ok, so it’s not exactly the same thing… but that’s what it feels like to me.

So I’ve started being really blunt in my prayers with Jesus lately… I’m asking Him to make me a mom that will glorify Him. And instead of asking Him to take away my pain/heartache/fear, I’ve asked, “Jesus, let me see you.” Here’s an excerpt from a book I’ve been reading written by our pastor that has really encouraged me in this area, over the last few days…

Every time I’ve walked through the fire, He has allowed me to do so in order for me to see Him more clearly and follow Him more closely. How would we know He’s a healer if we didn’t experience times when we needed to be healed? How would we know He’s a Savior if we didn’t experience things we needed to be saved from? How would we know He’s a provider if we didn’t experience times when we thought we weren’t going to make it? If you feel like you’re walking in a fire that is seven times hotter than you’ve ever experienced, my challenge to you is to pray this bold prayer: “Jesus let me see You. Teach me who You are in this fire.” – Overwhelmed by Perry Noble

I try and stay in touch with my readers on a personal level through social media. Share this post to pass it on, and then click here to find me on Facebook.